David Lias

I like sports. I really do.

However, I don’t like sports to the point where I’m drafting players and doing, what appears to me anyway, the meticulous record-keeping and research and everything else involved to participate in Fantasy Football or something like that.

It just seems like a lot of work that ends up ruining Real Football because if I understand how everything works correctly, your Fantasy Football team’s performance is based on how the “real” players that you’ve drafted to make up your “fantasy” team perform on any given Sunday, Monday or Thursday during the NFL season.

If the real players do poorly, then your fantasy team does poorly resulting in twice the disappointment on any given game day.

At least that’s how I interpret things to work, based on observations of those who like Fantasy Football.

Currently we’re experiencing March Madness, where people who know more about basketball and the teams that play than me try to pick the NCAA Division 1 champions out of a bracket that contains 78 teams (if my math is correct -- it might not be).

At any rate, I printed out a bracket a couple weeks ago, stared at it with all of these teams’ names printed in about half-point type so that they will all fit on a standard sheet of paper along with their brackets, and I went to work.

I crumpled up that piece of paper and threw it in the trash. It is likely in the landfill right now, beginning its process of turning into mulch so that someday it will be much more productive that I ever could be while trying to figure out which team out of about 80 will eventually be the champion.

I mean, who could ever successful at such a thing?

Paul the octopus, that’s who.

Paul gained international fame during the 2010 World Cup when he accurately predicted the outcomes of all six of Germany's matches.

He resided at the Sea Life Aquarium in Oberhausen, Germany at the time and chose his teams by placing food into or retrieving it from one of two glass cases, labeled with the teams' logos, which keepers lowered into his tank.

Paul nailed every aspect of Germany's performance in South Africa, including a shocking win against Serbia, according to The Guardian.

Technically, Paul's divination started at the Euro 2008 tournament, but his performance during the 2010 World Cup made him a household name. In fact, some Argentines, so upset over his guess of Germany's win, even threatened to cook and eat Paul, The Telegraph reported.

"Common octopuses like Paul are very intelligent. We equate their intelligence with that of a dog, and they love problem solving and figuring things out," Fiona Smith, head of animal care at Paul's facility, told The Telegraph.

And Paul didn't confine his omnipotence to just soccer. He started weighing in on football and basketball games too.

As I’m writing this, the NCAA men’s bracket has been whittled down to the Sweet 16 -- in other words, a much more manageable number than the 1 billion teams that were on the bracket earlier this month.

Here are my predictions:

This week, Duke will defeat Virginia Tech; Michigan State will defeat LSU; Gonzaga will win over Florida State; Michigan will beat Texas Tech; Oregon will defeat Virginia; Tennessee will be the winner over Purdue; Auburn will defeat North Carolina; and Houston will defeat Kentucky.

All of the winners above move on in the bracket and will play this weekend. Here’s what will happen:

Duke will defeat Michigan State; Michigan will win over Gonzaga; Oregon will defeat Tennessee; and Houston will conquer Auburn.

We’re now down to the final four teams, who will clash on April 6 in Minneapolis. Here’s what’s going to happen:

Michigan will defeat Duke. Houston will outscore Oregon. That means, on April 8 in Minneapolis, Michigan and Houston will play for the national championship. Michigan will defeat Houston and receive the 2019 crown.

Whew. That was fun, actually. So much, in fact, that I dare Paul the octopus to try to do better. C’mon Paul. I dare you.

Wait … the internet says Paul passed away in his tank in 2010.

Never mind, then.


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